Because making ends meet is challenging for many older Americans today, it’s becoming more and more common for older workers to continue working past retirement age. Unfortunately, many employees who are age 40 and older suffer from discrimination from their employers, simply because they’re older. Besides draining your finances, being discriminated at your job because of your age can also be mentally and emotionally stressful for both you and your family.
An employer judging older workers solely on their age and not their skills is not only wrong, but it’s also illegal. If you’re an employee who’s at least 40 years of age and feels you’ve been a victim of age discrimination in the workplace, here’s what you need to know and do.
Common Examples of Age Discrimination in a Workplace
One of the most common examples of workplace age discrimination, also known as ageism, is advertising a position that states that it’s looking for people in a specific age range. Another example is only offering younger workers the opportunity to participate in educational opportunities or training classes.
What’s more, if an employer hires a younger job applicant for a position over an older, more qualified person, this is also considered a discriminatory action. Sometimes, employers use subtle ways to discriminate against older workers, such as encouraging older employees to retire or executing layoffs that target older people.
What to Do If You’re a Victim
If you believe you’ve been victimized at work because of your age, first try to negotiate with your employer by using your company’s grievance system. Often, workers with solid proof of age bias are successful in settling out of court. Collecting evidence of age discrimination typically entails keeping emails and documented records of statements made by your employer that seem unfair.
But if you feel you have to go court, file a charge with the federal EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). Don’t procrastinate in filing your charge as it’s best to file within 180 days from the date of the time that a discriminatory action occurred.
After contacting your employer about the charge and examining your case, the EEOC will decide if your charge is strong enough and will get together with your employer to attempt to resolve the problem. However, if this doesn’t work, you’ll need to get a good age discrimination attorney who can review the pros and cons of your claims, besides counsel you on the best path to take.
What is the ADEA and How Does It Protect You?
The federal law known as the ADEA (Age Discrimination in Employment Act) is designed for protecting job applicants and workers who are age 40 and older from discrimination because of their age, regarding every aspect of employment. The ADEA doesn’t apply to independent contractors, elected officials or military personnel. It does pertain to employment agents, employees with at least 20 workers or labor organizations with 20 or more members and state and local government workers.
Under this law, employers are not permitted to set age restrictions for training programs or state a preferred age bracket when soliciting potential workers in job ads. They also can’t force older workers to retire when reaching a certain age or retaliate against older employers when filing age discrimination charges.
Considerations and Warnings
- Discriminating or harassing employers who are age 40 or older is illegal in California. According to The FEHA (Fair Employment and Housing Act), you have a right as a California worker to be treated fairly at work.
- According to a recent San Francisco.com article, a study, using fake resumes, revealed compelling proof of age discrimination. Older female workers were shown to be victimized even more than their male counterparts.
Are you an older worker who’s been mistreated because of your age? If so, you have the legal right to file a claim. Under the ADEA, as someone who’s suffered from age discrimination in the workplace, you may be entitled to receive front pay, back pay and liquidated damages.
Please contact the highly trained and experienced employment law legal specialists at Aiman-Smith & Marcy and learn more about how we can help you. Besides employment law, our California law firm also specializes in class actions in California, consumer fraud and other areas.